KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Ubaldo Jimenez had dynamite stuff, as seven strikeouts and one walk in five innings would indicate.
He also made one costly mistake to Alex Gordon.
Gordon went 4 for 4 with a pair of three-run homers and a career-high six RBIs as the Kansas City Royals beat the Baltimore Orioles 8-6 on Sunday.
Gordon drove a 1-1 pitch from Jimenez (2-5) out to right with two outs in the fifth with Nori Aoki and Billy Butler aboard. Gordon, who led the Royals with 20 home runs last year, had gone 134 at-bats without a home run.
“The pitch to Gordon was uncharacteristic,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “He had, really, just the one (bad) pitch. He tried to go down and away, and it came back in and came into a sweet spot (for Gordon). He hadn’t walked anybody to that point, either. Except for one pitch I thought he was good. After the first inning he was pretty crisp.”
Gordon homered in his next at-bat, a three-run shot off left-hander Troy Patton in the seventh after Eric Hosmer walked and Butler doubled for his third hit.
“He got a backup slider about the same place and just made us pay for it,” Showalter said.
It was Gordon’s third career multi-homer game. His six RBIs matched a Royals’ season high. His four hits matched a career high, the 10th time he has accomplished that.
Adam Jones hit a three-run homer off Royals reliever Aaron Crow in the ninth. It was the first runs Crow allowed in 20 relief appearances and 17 innings.
“The pitch to Gordon was the one mistake Ubaldo made,” Jones said. “We’ve just got to score a few more runs. We didn’t beat ourselves. We just got beat.”
Greg Holland got the final two outs for his 12th save in 13 appearances.
James Shields (6-3) picked up his fifth win in six starts, holding the Orioles to three runs and nine hits over seven innings. Shields won back-to-back starts at Kauffman Stadium for the first time.
Shields settled down after a three-run third when he gave up five hits, including four straight to open the inning.
“Shields is one of the best pitchers in the American League,” Showalter said. “Shields throws less than 50 percent fastballs and I thought we had a good approach. We got 12 hits. At this level if you make two mistakes to a good hitter they are going to make you pay, and unfortunately it came with some runners on base.”
Jimenez, who was 2-0 with a 0.46 ERA in his first three May starts, was pulled after five innings.
“It’s a tough game,” he said. “I felt really good and I made a lot of good pitches. They had a good approach. I threw a lot of sinkers down and they found the hole every time. They had a really good game. There’s nothing I can do but move on.”
Nick Markakis singled home J.J. Hardy, who had three hits, and David Lough in the Orioles’ third. Manny Machado, who had three hits, had a sacrifice fly in the third to score Jonathan Schoop for the other run off Shields.
Butler singled home Aoki with two outs in the first for the first Kansas City run. Lorenzo Cain’s single in the fourth scored Gordon with the other Royals’ run.
Notes: RHP Dylan Bundy, the Orioles’ top prospect and the fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft, is scheduled to throw an inning in extended spring Tuesday in Florida. It will be his first time to face opposing hitters since having Tommy John surgery last June 27. … The Orioles dropped to 1-6 in Sunday games. They are 21-14 on other days. … Both managers, Ned Yost and Showalter, won challenge reviews: Yost in the fourth inning when Gordon was called out at second, Showalter in the seventh when Cain was first ruled safe for an infield single. That was overturned.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)